OutsiderXchanges Project Launched

This collaborative visual arts project will bring together learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists to develop shared ideas and new contemporary work.”

Venture Arts has received funding from Arts Council England for an exciting partnership and project called OutsidersXchanges.

This collaborative visual arts project will bring together learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists to develop shared ideas and new contemporary work.

Running over a year, artists from Manchester and Gateshead will work together to make new work. Venture Arts is working in partnership with BALTIC, Gateshead, Castlefield Galleries, Manchester and the Contemporary Visual Arts Network to build on experience and audiences. 

Acclaimed disability artist Tanya Raabe will work with all the artists involved focusing on pairing the artists, building on their ideas, developing their knowledge of learning disability arts aesthetic and cultural identity and working in a new space.

Artists will open up a new temporary project space, in partnership with Castlefield Galleries in Manchester, where five learning disabled artists will invite five emerging and established artists to work with them to make new, collaborative, large scale work to be shown in Manchester and Gateshead in September 2016. A similar project will run from BALTIC 39 studios, BALTIC, in a two-artist collaboration. Baltic will also run a short pilot visual arts workshop programme, which will be mentored by Venture Arts.

The result of this work will be a show that will elevate the work of learning disabled artists and create a discourse around contemporary learning disability arts and cultural aesthetic that challenges the complexities and ideals surrounding learning disability artists’ practices.

This project and work will also help to strengthen and bring together the learning-disabled art world with the established arts infrastructure.

You can keep up to date with the progress of the project by visiting the project website: https://outsiderxchanges.wordpress.com


Amanda Sutton, Manager of Venture Arts said: 'We are delighted to be heading up this new arts project that will help some of our finest learning disabled artists to make their mark on the artworld. What is most exciting, and also a little scary, about this project is that is represents a new exploration of creative practice and we simply do not know what the end result will be. It represents a new way of working that has high quality collaborative practice at its heart. What is certain is that interesting and challenging work will come out of this project, which will begin to investigate and elevate the position of learning disability art and artists within the contemporary visual art scene.  We are delighted to be working alongside some of the leaders in contemporary visual arts in our region and in the north of England. Most of all we are thankful to Arts Council England for enabling this experimental and exciting project to go ahead'. – Amanda Sutton

Emma Thomas, BALTIC Head of Learning and Engagement, added: ‘I am really excited to be working with Venture Arts on OutsiderXchanges. OutsiderXchanges offers BALTIC an incredible opportunity to support 2 artists to develop their practice, sharing ideas and creating new art within the context of BALTIC 39. BALTIC 39 is a vibrant hub of practising artists in the centre of Newcastle. This project, bringing together learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists to develop shared ideas as well as piloting an 8 week course for other artists who are learning disabled, is at the heart of our approach to the Creative Case.’

Emma Fry, Project Coordinator - Contemporary Visual Arts Network North West (CVAN NW) added: CVAN is delighted to be supporting OutsiderXchanges. In partnering with Baltic and Castelfield Gallery, the project shows real ambition in delivering a high quality artistic development programme, with clear emphasis on collaboration, experimentation, and the production of new and challenging contemporary artwork. This is an exciting moment for the Venture Arts team - opportunities to raise awareness, to nurture and showcase the exciting talents of the artists they work with, and to strengthen the importance of their role within contemporary visual arts in Greater Manchester and beyond.